Brad Brach on returning to Orioles as a broadcaster, comparing bullpens - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Brad Brach on returning to Orioles as a broadcaster, comparing bullpens

Photo Credit: Kim Klement USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend, viewers to Oriole telecasts heard an unfamiliar voice who had a familiar name. Brad Brach, who was part of one of the best bullpens in Orioles’ history, worked his second series as an analyst along with Jim Palmer.

Brach spent five seasons with the Orioles, going 27-15 with 32 saves and a 2.99 earned-run average from 2014-2018. He earned an All-Star berth in 2016. He also pitched with San Diego, Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and Cincinnati.

After an unsuccessful minor league stint with the Braves last season, Brach decided to leave baseball behind and after 15 years, he deliberately turned himself off from the game.

After a year away, the Orioles reached out, and he started watching games again.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed it,” Brach said last weekend. “I always loved the prep work for series. Being here, I have to get to know everybody on both teams as I’m doing it. I always enjoyed getting to know the hitters on the other team, see what they’re weaknesses are, their strengths are.”

Brach is still, admittedly, a broadcasting neophyte, but he’d like to make this his next profession.

“I enjoyed it way more than I thought I was going to,” he said. “Once the game gets going, it’s just talking baseball. Sitting next to Jim Palmer, that’s pretty crazy. I texted my dad and said, ‘Would you ever imagine growing up I’d be broadcasting next to Jim Palmer?’”

Brach is adjusting to reading defensive alignments and promos.

“I’ve been thrown into the fire, trying to slow myself down and ease into it as opposed to saying everything so fast,” he said.

Watching from the broadcast booth is much different than watching a game from the bullpen or the bench.

“It helped watching so many games in the bullpen just because I wasn’t right there to watch everything and being in the booth you get to see the whole field from the catcher’s perspective,” Brach said.

After not having to be at the ballpark every night, Brach is glad to be back in a new role. His final few years were unsatisfying.

“I hated not doing well and the pressure of it all,” he said. “I can feel all that pressure. Now, there’s no pressure of winning or losing. Saying what you see and using your experience to talk about the game.”

Palmer often visits with players, chatting and passing along tips. Brach, who’s reacquainting himself with his old team, has returned to the clubhouse, and while he wouldn’t pass along a tip now, he might in the future.

In the offseasons, he threw to Orioles catcher James McCann, a neighbor in Franklin, Tennessee.

“I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes,” he said. “If he had a guy he thought I could help, I’d be more than willing to talk to him. I would say, ‘What every player has to do is if you listen to me, and you take one percent or zero percent, if you take 50 percent of what I said, there could be something in there that helps you.’ I’m not saying I’d be the answer to anybody, but I’ve experienced a lot of stuff in my career. I think I could be a good source.”

Brach’s Orioles bullpen included two of the best in team history, Zack Britton and Darren O’Day. Mychal Givens also overlapped with Brach. Those pitchers had lots of different arm angles and didn’t concentrate on speed as much as the current group with Félix Bautista, Yennier Cano, Danny Coulombe and Shintaro Fujinami.

“It’s very similar. It’s not a negative. I think [our] bullpen may have been just a little bit deeper, but with leverage arms, it was a few guys deeper than maybe possibly this team,” Brach said. “These guys are so young they haven’t had a chance to prove it yet.

“It could be just as good as us if not better, especially, give it a couple of years. A lot of these guys, it’s the first time going through a full season. It’s crazy seeing how well they’re doing. It’s August and they’re pitching as well as they have since April. It’s impressive to watch.”

Notes: The Orioles claimed right-handed pitcher Jacob Webb off waivers  from the Los Angeles Angels. Webb, who was 1-1 with a save and a 3.98 ERA in 29 games with the Angels, has not yet been added to the Orioles’ roster. Webb was 10-5 with four saves and a 2.91 ERA in 107 games with Atlanta and Los Angeles from 2019-2022. To make room for Webb on the 40-man roster, right-hander Austin Voth was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list. Voth, who has right elbow discomfort, is at Triple-A Norfolk on a rehab assignment. … Norfolk right-hander Chayce McDermott was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week.

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